So many ellipticals, so little time.¬† How do you really know which elliptical trainer is right for you?¬† The belief that an elliptical is a non impact machine is only half right. While ellipticals do produce a much lower impact on the human body than treadmills or stair steppers, they can actually do more harm than good.¬† While doing your research on elliptical trainers it is essential that you fully understand how to recognize the good from the bad.¬† A basic understanding of how the human body works will give you a better understanding of how to shop for an elliptical.
An elliptical trainer is supposed to recreate a walking or running motion.¬† In simple terms, they are supposed to be an extension of your body.¬† Your feet stay in constant contact with the pedals so your body does not receive the pounding from your feet hitting the surface.¬† The key to a well designed elliptical is the angle and motion the pedals produce.¬†
An easy way to determine if an elliptical has a good motion is if you are able to use the machine and feel comfortable without holding on to the handles or arms.¬† You don‚Äôt have to hold on to anything while you are walking, so why should you need to hold on to something while using an elliptical?¬† If you are unable to use the machine without supporting yourself, this means that the elliptical is forcing your body into a position that is out of the ordinary.¬†
This is where problems arise.¬† With all of your bodyweight being transferred through your feet, an awkward, unnatural motion will cause a significantly higher amount of stress on your joints.¬†
When you take a step, a very specific, reoccurring motion occurs. As your front foot comes forward, your back heel lifts up first.¬† The heel needs to lift first to naturally transfer your body weight forward to your front foot.¬† As your rear foot leaves the ground, that foot comes forward, toe pointing down, with your knee and hip relaxed.¬† As your rear foot moves in front of you, your body begins to repeat the process.
Many ellipticals interfere with that process.¬† Dangerous combinations are ellipticals that produce an upward thrust, usually stemming from rear drive type motions.¬† Also, ellipticals that do not allow you to lift your heal are biomechanically incorrect.¬† When an elliptical forces your heal upward, before your body has a chance to do it naturally, a significant amount of stress will be redirected to your knees, Achilles tendons and your hips.
An elliptical trainer should have a very natural, fluid motion.¬† When you try out an elliptical, notice if your feet experience any significant stress.¬† Does the curvature and angle of the pedals coincide with the natural motion your body needs? Is the pedal spacing and width too wide for you, forcing your body weight to transfer side to side, rather than front to back?
WHERE TO SHOP
This one is easy.¬† If you want to find the best home fitness equipment, only shop at exclusive retail fitness stores like At Home Fitness.¬† Stores like these specialize in home fitness equipment, not golf clubs, tennis shoes, camping equipment etc‚Ä¶¬† You will have unparalleled customer service, expert fitness consulting, and ultimately a better overall experience.¬† These expert fitness consultants will be able to help you find the right solution.¬† They will help you pick out an¬†elliptical that will fit your body style and your budget while providing you with a machine that will not break down every other week.
The best example of an elliptical machine that creates a natural stride as well as a fluid biomechanically correct motion is the Octane Elliptical.¬† The design of the Octane Elliptical is actually based on a computer engineered program called ‚Äúbody mapping ergonomics.‚Äù¬† The motion of the human body was recreated into a computer program and then transformed into the basic design for the Octane Elliptical.¬† This machine combines an extremely realistic motion with a very close pedal width of 1.8‚Äù; a 20.5‚Äù stride length, and a 15 degree downward kick angle. Few manufactures have invested the time, money and energy that is required to create an elliptical that will compare to the Octane brand ellipticals.¬† There are a lot of machines out there that cost twice as much and have about half of the overall quality.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR¬†
While the intention here is not to push the Octane brand, the numbers of good quality elliptical machines available today are few and far between.¬† With an 800% increase in overall elliptical sales during the past 5 years, everyone and their brother are now making these machines.¬† Most ellipticals brands are generic, mass produced machines that manufacturers feel they can sell, simply because the elliptical market is hot.
It is essential that you purchase an elliptical trainer that fits your body.¬† Don‚Äôt be fooled by sales lines like; ‚Äúthis brand is the best because all the health clubs use it.‚Äù¬† Exercise machines in the health clubs are not there because they are the best; they are there because very few manufacturers specialize in this type of business.¬† A significant source of their income is generated from the lease terms and warranty work, not quality of equipment. ¬†¬†
The best ellipticals always come from the specialty fitness market, not from mass produced brands that sell to the health clubs or department stores.¬† Take your time, do your research and just use common sense.¬† When looking for an elliptical machine, ask yourself, does this machine really truly feel natural?